The following Key Takeaways are from the Post-Election Analysis and Q&A live call, presented by 202WORKS, on November 15, 2018.
Part 1: Lay-of-the-Land in the House
President, Bluepoint DC
- Women running across the US in record numbers coupled with high turnout for a midterm election helped the Democrats take control of the House.
- Diversity - Because of the diversity in the Congress, there will be increased scrutiny of corporate boards of directors to make sure there are women and minority representation.
- Oversight - There will be a significant focus on oversight. Expect oversight of the Administration, the Trump family and their lenders, and at the House Financial Services Committee on regulators. Banks will face headline pressure.
- FinTech - Rep. Patrick McHenry has announced his interest in serving as ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee. He has been a leader on fostering innovation in the FinTech space. The future of FinTech regulation, modernization of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) will likely be a focus in the 116th Congress and particularly in the House Financial Services Committee. The question remains whether there will be meaningful legislation enacted. A speech earlier this week by FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams today on FinTech Regulatory policy may be of interest to those in FinTech.
- Lame Duck - There are a few “must do” actions during the lame duck session of Congress including nominations, reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program and some key spending bills. It remains to be seen whether there will be a meeting of the minds or if gridlock will begin this month.
Part 2: Changing Demographics on the House/Leadership Changes
Founder & CEO of Pylorus Strategies, LLC
- Tri-Caucus - There was a paradigm shift in Congress for the Tri-Caucus (composed of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus). This is the most diverse Congress ever. Many Tri-Caucus Members will be Chairing Committees. People to watch: Reps. Maxine Waters, Benny Thompson, Elijah Cummings, Mark Tokano, and Nydia Valasquez.
- CBC - There are several CBC Members on the rise to leadership. People to watch: Reps. Jim Clyburn, Karen Bass, Hakim Jeffries, Barbara Lee, and Joyce Beatty.
- Women - This is the Year of the Woman. Women were elected in unprecedented numbers. People to watch: Mary Gay Scanlon, Lauren Underwood, and Lucy McBath.
- Leadership - The top three Democratic leadership positions will most likely remain the same. New people to watch to fulfill the last leadership position: Reps. Cicillini, Bustos, and Luján.
Part 3: US Senate: What to Watch and What to Plan For
Vice President, Porterfield, Fettig & Sears, LLC
- Conservative Shift in Senate - While 2019 will feature a number of new moderate Democrats in the House, the Senate lost a number of moderates this election cycle (i.e. Heitkamp, Donnelly, McCaskill, Corker, Heller and Flake). Many of the incoming Republicans will be more conservative than the outgoing Senators. New dealmakers will have to emerge.
- Areas of Agreement - In the next congress Majority Leader McConnell will continue to move and confirm President Trump’s nominees, especially judges. McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer will have to forge a working relationship with Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy on core government functions including the budget process and appropriations. Other areas of agreement could include infrastructure, prescription drug prices, and potentially small healthcare fixes.
- Senate Banking Committee - likely focus on housing reform, flood insurance, TRIA (Terrorism Risk Insurance Act) reauthorization, big data privacy issues, cannabis banking, capital formation/JOBS Act expansion, implementation of S. 2155 (which provided regulatory relief to smaller financial institutions), gun-related banking issues, corporate governance reform, and a number of Administration appointees (i.e. FHFA, SEC, FDIC, OFR, Ginnie Mae). The Senate Banking Committee could also feature two presidential candidates – Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown – so the dynamics of the Committee hearings and activities could be impacted as both candidates vie for attention.
- House Financial Services Committee - led by Chair Maxine Waters, HFSC will focus on aggressive oversight of all the Trump appointees that come under the Financial Services Committee’s jurisdiction. Secretaries Mnuchin and Carson will face heightened attention, as will CFPB Director Kraninger (once confirmed) and whoever replaces FHFA Director Watt. Beyond oversight, Waters will likely focus on consumer protection issues where consensus exists within her own caucus. As an example, payday lending and credit reporting agencies (especially in the wake of the Equifax breach) could be targets. Waters will also likely devote considerable energy to affordable housing issues. Also, the burgeoning area of Financial Technology (FinTech) is likely to be a focus of a Waters chairmanship, both in the areas of consumer protection and with an eye toward financial inclusion and empowerment. FinTech is also an area of interest for Ranking Member McHenry, so this issue is expected to garner bipartisan attention.
Part 4: How Can Advocacy Organizations Best Communicate To This New Congress?
Media Relations Manager, APCO Worldwide
- Be grassroots driven - Changing dynamics in the way that campaigns are funded (corporate PACs are out, small dollar donors are in) are changing the way that members of Congress should be engaged. Go direct to constituents and create movements to create movement on your issues.
- Be locally focused - From the 2020 presidential race to Congressional oversight, national issues will drown out a lot of policy in the 116th Congress. Cut through the noise by going local; find local hooks, local faces and local outlets to tell your story to the members that matter most.
- Be digitally savvy - Members of Congress aren’t just in their office; they’re online more than ever. Seek out influencers and develop a plan to engage them. Find your voice and find ways to amplify it through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other key platforms.